Interesting facts about clouds
Interesting facts about clouds
Clouds are truly the magical, whimsical and fascinating phenomena of nature. A cloud is the visible mass of tiny liquid droplets in the atmosphere. It consists of water droplets, frozen crystals as well as some suspended particles. Clouds are vital for the life the life on earth. For thousands of years, clouds have been known for their magnificence and exquisiteness. Moreover, there are many myths and folklores about clouds in different cultures. Here, in this article, we present you some of mind-blowing and interesting facts about clouds you probably didn’t know before:

Top 15 mind-blowing and interesting facts about clouds!

Here are some exciting and incredible facts about clouds:

1. Ancient mythology about clouds

In ancient Greece, clouds were not considered a natural phenomenon. Rather, clouds were believed to be a group of young nymphs called Nephelai - the daughters of two titans; Oceanus and Tethys. Nephelai were thought to sail through the sky in billowing white robes. Moreover, these beautiful cloud spirits spent their days collecting water from the rivers and then took it to heaven. From there, they poured water down from the sky in the form of rain, giving life to earth. As per Hindu tradition, clouds were the celestial relatives of the white elephants that roamed the earth. In addition, elephants would use their trunks to shower the earth with rain. Altostratus and Cirrostratus clouds are also a sign of rain and snowfall Another interesting myth about clouds! Africans believe that Mkunga Mburu, the god of thunder, travels the heavens on a huge black bull with spears in both hands. When he hurls those spears at the clouds, it causes the thunder of clouds. It was a common myth in Native American tribes that clouds were the clothing of the gods of heaven. When the god opens up his arms, white clouds spread throughout the sky. The early Navajo people believed that clouds were formed when a great white swan flapped its wings. The Pueblo of Southwest America worship the Cloud People. These were the mystical beings who bring rain to the earth. They believed that clouds were actually the spirits of the deceased who lived in heaven. For their good deeds, they took the form of beautiful white clouds in the afterlife. The ancient Navajo people believed that there is a white swan up in heavens. When it flaps its wings, it makes clouds. Chinese consider the clouds a sign of happiness and good luck. Clouds of different colors signify “multiple blessings” and overlapping clouds indicate “eternal bliss”. There are many more myths and interesting folklores about the clouds.

2. The person who loves the clouds is called?

The person who adores clouds is called a nephophile. The term “phile” comes from ancient Greek word, “phileein” which means “love, adoration”. The person who adores clouds is called a nephophile.

3. Pareidolia – the phenomenon to be able to see objects in clouds!

It’s a common thing that people can perceive different images or objects in clouds. You may not know but this psychological phenomenon is called as “pareidolia”. This term is also derived from a Greek word “para” meaning something wrong, fake or imaginary. Therefore, some people can see things and objects in clouds. For instance, you can see a likeness of goddess, mountains, your favorite pet etc.

4. Clouds are white because!

There are many interesting myth and folklores about why the clouds are white. However, the scientific explanation behind the white color is because they reflect sunlight. Furthermore, clouds can be grey. Masses of clouds appear grey due to shadow. Also, when they are saturated with water, they don’t reflect sunlight and thus appear grayish in color. The study of clouds is called Nephology that comes under the category of the cloud physics branch of meteorology. The experts name clouds based on their respective layers of the homosphere and their appearance.

5. Not all clouds are same – they are of different types!

Clouds are classified into eight kinds and three main groups based on their altitude.
  • High clouds – found at average altitude of 13-5 km. These are of three types: cirrus, cirrocumulus and cirrostratus clouds.
  • Middle clouds – at average altitude of 7 – 2 km. these include altocumulus and altostratus clouds.
  • Low clouds- - average altitude is 2- 0 km. this group includes stratocumulus, stratus, nimbostratus.
In addition to these, the cloud that extends these altitudes is called cumulonimbus. It is a large, flat cloud that extends the sky and is the sign of tornado or hailstorm. The study of clouds is called Nephology that comes under the category of the cloud physics branch of meteorology.

6. The particular kind of cloud is helpful for weather forecast!

Cumulus clouds predominate during a warm, sunny day. Cumulonimbus clouds are the sign of upcoming tornado, heavy rain and hailstorm. Cirrus clouds predict a change in weather. Altostratus and Cirrostratus clouds are also a sign of rain and snowfall.

7. Do you know how clouds are formed?

Clouds are significant part of earth’s water cycle. They are the result of saturation of atmospheric air with water vapors.  When the temperature rises, it evaporates water from lakes, rive and oceans. The water vapors rise up; the temperature of the air around the water vapor begins to drop. Water vapors condense at this low temperature. Finally, these condensed water vapors take the form of clouds. Billions of tiny water droplets and ice crystals condense together and appear as clouds. When they become too heavy to stay suspended in clouds, they eventually fall back to Earth as rain or snow. In addition to their significant role in water cycle, clouds also regulate the Earth’s climate. They absorb and reflect radiations from sun and the earth.

8. Clouds are not weightless!

Another of  interesting facts about clouds! Though they appear so light and buoyant, an average cloud weighs 216 thousand pounds. Also, the storm cloud can weigh as much as 105.8 million pounds. Though they appear so light and buoyant, an average cloud weighs 216 thousand pounds

9. There are clouds on other planets too!

The satellite data shows that almost 67% of the earth is covered with clouds. Particularly, over the oceans, there are dense clouds and less than 10% of sky that is free of clouds.
  • Other plants of the solar system also have cloud covers. For instance, Venus has thick clouds of sulfur dioxide. This is because of volcanic eruption.
  • Saturn and Jupiter have clouds of ammonia.
  • Saturn’s moon Titan has dense cloud cover of liquid methane.
  • Cloud cover on Planet Kepler 7b is composed of silica particles. Therefore, it rains molten liquid glass there.
Also read: interesting facts about fire

10. Interesting fact about Mammatus cloud!

Mammatus cloud is rare kind of cloud and is named for its resemblance of boobs.

11. Pilot’s halo - the circular rainbow!

When an airplane is at a precise angle between the sun and the clouds, it results in circular rainbow - Pilot’s Halo.

12. The stunning but rare phenomenon of cloud iridescence!

When the cloud that is closer to sun, the water droplets diffract the sunlight. This appears as an abrupt smattering of colors mixed together. Thus, we see the stunning but rare view of cloud iridescence around the thin edges of a cumulus cloud. cloud iridescence

13. He is on cloud nine!

The idiom “to be on cloud nine” originated in 1896 and mentioned in International Cloud Atlas. The tallest cloud was cumulonimbus and it was number nine. The term is used to denote someone’s excitement and happiness.

14. International cloud day is observed on 4th of August.

15. Inspirational Cloud quotes to brighten up your day!

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou

“A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed, it feels an impulsion... this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons.” - Richard Bach

. These were some interesting facts about clouds. Hope you enjoyed these. Stay tuned for more interesting content.   Pictures courtesy:  

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